36 CFR 1250.56 - How may I request a fee waiver for operational records?
(a) We waive or reduce your fees for NARA operational records only if your request meets both of the following criteria:
(1) The request is in the public interest (i.e., the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government); and
(2) The request is not primarily in your commercial interest.
(b) To be eligible for a fee waiver or reduction you must explain:
(1) How the records you are requesting pertain to the operations and activities of the Federal Government. There must be a clear connection between the identifiable operations or activities of the Federal Government and the subject of your request;
(2) How the release will reveal meaningful information that the public does not already know about Federal Government activities. Disclosing information that is already in the public domain, in either the same or a substantially-identical form, does not add anything new to the public's understanding of Government activities;
(3) How disclosure to you will advance public understanding of the issue;
(4) Your expertise or understanding of the requested records as well as your ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public. NARA ordinarily presumes that a representative of the news media satisfies this consideration;
(5) How you intend to disseminate the requested information to a broad spectrum of the public; and
(6) How disclosure will lead to a significantly greater understanding of the Government by the public.
(c) After reviewing your request and determining that there is a substantial public interest in release, we also determine if the request primarily furthers your commercial interests. If it does, you are not eligible for a fee waiver.
(d) You should ask for waiver or reduction of fees when you first submit your request to NARA, and should address the criteria referenced above. You may also ask for a fee waiver at a later time while the underlying record request is still pending or during an administrative appeal.
(e) We may also waive (either partially or in full) or reduce fees for operational records in additional circumstances as a matter of administrative discretion.